Teacher Collaboration - Classful (2023)

Teacher collaboration helps both the student body and the school as a whole can benefit.

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The importance of teacher collaboration

By learning from one another, teachers can hone their skills and adopt new teaching practices, which can obviously increase the effectiveness of their lesson delivery.

In addition to this, a collaborative culture is created when teachers work together, which helps to boost morale among the staff and provides teachers with a supporting and enriching working environment.

A few additional areas we’ll cover include:
  • Benefits of teacher collaboration
  • Effective teacher collaboration strategies
  • Teacher collaboration tools

Traditional classroom setting

Working in a traditional classroom setting can be a lonely or isolating experience for teachers. As much of the day is spent with pupils, it may take some time for teachers to build strong teams within the staff. Furthermore, teachers within the same school may feel they are in competition with one another as they strive to achieve the best results when it comes to student attainment.

Unfortunately, these practices can have a detrimental effect on the school, the students and the teachers themselves.

New collaboration strategies

New teacher collaboration strategies are on the rise. New collaboration strategies are helping to create bonds between teachers and ensuring that an individual teacher’s best practices can be spread across the school so that everyone benefits from their innovative and original teaching strategies.

Large school collaboration

In larger schools and school districts, collaborative teaching is often achieved by forming grade-level teams among the staff. Teachers who work with pupils in grades five and six may collaborate with teachers who work with students across grades four to seven, for example.

As these members of staff are teaching students around the same age and expected attainment levels, their lesson plans, teaching methods and learning strategies can be shared in order to create the most enriching environment.

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How can teacher collaboration be achieved?

Collaborate virtually

The range of academic and administrative tasks teachers are required to carry out leaves them with very little free time. In fact, the vast majority of teachers work additional hours in order to ensure their students get the best education. Virtual collaboration enables teachers to work with one another but doesn’t add to an already busy schedule.

As teachers aren’t required to meet face-to-face or attend extra meetings, virtual collaboration is ideal when time constraints are already an issue. There are numerous brands and companies which offer free common drive services and some schools may have an internal network which can facilitate this type of collaboration.

Once the common drive has been set up, teachers can simply upload documents and materials they think may be useful to their fellow colleagues.

The types of documents shared via virtual collaboration often include:
  • Lesson plans
  • Curriculum strategies
  • Unit mapping

As all teachers are required to create these types of documents, individuals may benefit from seeing how other teachers formulate these materials. Emulating their work or using a mutually agreed template ensures teachers benefit from the expertise and experience of the teaching community as a whole and that they have access to the most useful documents.

Plan, plan, plan

Although teachers already face numerous time constraints, the benefits associated with teachers collaboration have led many schools to incorporate scheduled collaboration time. If principals, school directors and leadership teams commit to creating time for collaboration in the schedule, teachers and students can reap the benefits of this new approach to learning.

Enabling teachers to meet together in subject groups, grade groups or as a whole teaching body ensures they have time to work with one another, rather than simply working alongside each other. As well as encouraging teachers to share materials and teaching strategies, this face-to-face form of collaboration can provide professional support to teachers when they need it most.

Individual teachers often face a number of challenges throughout each school year and being able to discuss and problem solve with colleagues who are familiar with the difficulties of working in a school environment leads to increased confidence, more effective resolutions and a happy working and learning environment.

In order to facilitate face-to-face, scheduled collaboration, leadership teams can incorporate a number of strategies, such as:
  • Providing extra support via substitute teachers to enable teachers to take time to collaborate with colleagues
  • Leadership-led scheduling processes so principals are aware of the need to manage the time constraints experienced by teachers
  • Allowing teachers to take time to attend state or national conferences, workshops and continuing development programs as a group
  • Organize regular school meetings for all staff to share experiences and ideas

A simple technique to encourage on-going collaboration is to ask staff to leave their doors open when it’s appropriate to do so. All too often, teachers are stuck behind a closed door and are physically isolated from other staff. By requesting staff keep their doors open, it encourages their colleagues to connect with them throughout the day, leading to organic and natural collaboration.

Form collaboration teams

If principals and school leadership teams take a role in creating specific collaboration teams, participation tends to increase. Rather than collaboration being an extra issue for teachers to contend with, it simply becomes part of the working environment.

Depending on the size of the school and the workforce, collaboration teams can be made up of numerous people or just two or three teachers. Pairing teachers up based on the grade levels they teach is often most effective, as these members of staff will have similar day-to-day experiences and will be using similar teaching materials which can be shared or created jointly.

In addition to this, school leadership teams can look at personalities, strengths and weaknesses when creating collaboration teams. Pairing a newly qualified teacher with an experienced teacher may boost the confidence of the newer teacher, whilst introducing new concepts and teaching methods to the more experienced professional, for example. Similarly, pairing a more confident colleague with a more reserved member of staff can help individuals to take a more active role in the school system and also highlights how a more sedate approach can be beneficial in some areas.

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Add structures to teacher conflict

Simply working in the same industry or the same school does not automatically mean that teachers will get on well together or will be the best of friends. Different ways of working, personality clashes and competing objectives can affect any working relationship and teachers may not always want to work with each other.

Adding structure to collaboration is an effective way of resolving any conflicts which may arise and ensures both individuals and teams have a specific focus. Whilst teachers may not like the idea of being ‘forced’ to work with a colleague they’re not particularly friendly with, setting a team goal helps to minimize any prior issues the team may have experienced and encourages participants to work together to achieve their objective.

One of the most effective ways to ensure teams comprised of conflicting teachers is successful is to set agendas which are strictly focused on the students. If the team has a particular objective of reviewing a student’s work, for example, they will feel they have carried out a task which benefits the student and the school as a whole, regardless of whether they have bonded well with their team members.

Although teams may focus on students to begin with, this process allows individuals to recognize the benefits of working with colleagues, even if they have previously clashed over some issues. Even colleagues who do not particularly like each other are able to recognize the strengths each of them bring to the school environment. As this happens, teams are usually more willing to collaborate with each other and realize the benefits that can flow from collaboration.

Create lesson plans together

Planning lessons in advance is a key part of teaching and two heads are always better than one. When teachers plan their lessons together, they have the opportunity to learn from one another and can brainstorm how to approach tricky subjects or learning aims. As teachers will often be familiar with the same students, they can also speculate as to how classes will respond to a new topic and strategize new teaching methods.

Lessons can sometimes be planned well in advance, with teachers determining how to deliver the curriculum across a semester or a school year. Individual lesson plans may be created with a short-term view, however. This enables teachers to be flexible and adapt the curriculum plan according to their students’ needs. If pupils have struggled to grasp the concept of osmosis in science lessons, for example, an extra lesson may be spent on this topic before the class moves on to a new area.

In order to increase flexibility and cater to the students’ needs, teachers may need to plan lessons the day before they take place or the week before the class is due to be held. This can place a considerable amount of pressure on teachers, particularly as they are routinely planning numerous lessons for varying classes.

When planning lessons in pairs or teams, teachers find that the pressure of devising the plans is lessened. Instead of attempting to cope with the administrative demands of teaching alone, teachers can collaborate and find the most effective way to plan lessons for their students. When specific class materials are needed, teachers can also share their resources and reduce the time it takes for each individual teacher to prepare a lesson.

Time for teacher collaboration

There are various ways in which teacher collaboration can be structured and schools should try various approaches to determine which works best for their staff. Although some teachers are resistant to collaborative teaching methods at first, simply asking them to try the new approach can be the most effective way of introducing collaborative teaching permanently. Once teachers begin to see and experience the benefits themselves, any reluctance typically dissipates and teachers are keen to continue working in a collaborative way.

A pilot collaboration task, such as asking teachers to brainstorm a particular issue in teams, is an ideal way to introduce the concept and emphasizes the beneficial effects collaborative teaching can have. Once in place, teachers should feel under less pressure as an individual and this shows in both their teaching and their attitude.

With collaborative teaching, all members of the school community can benefit from the cohesive and united approach fostered by teachers.

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What are the 5 types of collaborative teaching? ›

They include: one teach, one support; parallel teaching; alternative teaching; station teaching; and team teaching.

What is teacher collaboration? ›

Teacher collaboration involves teachers working together to lead, instruct, and mentor students with the goal of improving student learning and achievement. Sharing ideas would have been easy under the old setup where teachers attend school on-site and attend classes face-to-face.

What does a teacher do in collaborative learning? ›

In this type of collaborative teaching, one of the teachers actually teaches the student and the other one observes and assists them. In short, he or she analyzes where the students are lacking, whether they're doing their assignments properly if they're struggling with concepts, and then help them out.

How do teachers collaborate effectively? ›

Create a truly shared vision and goals.

For example, identify your team's shared vision of caring for students and student learning, set goals related to that vision, discuss how the team's work can help attain those goals, and check in often to assess progress.

What is collaborative teaching model? ›

The team teaching approach, also known as collaborative teaching, is an approach to classroom instruction in which two teachers work with a single class of students at the same time.

What are collaborative learning strategies? ›

Collaborative learning takes place when students work together in small groups on a shared learning task. Within this framework, there are many approaches that use different kinds of tasks and organization. At its core, collaborative learning relies on the creation of meaningful tasks and engaging group responses.

What are the examples of teacher collaboration? ›

Teacher collaboration involves: debating, planning, and problem-solving together. inquiring together, using evidence and research to guide decision-making. capitalising on each other's strengths and working with each other's weaknesses.

How does teacher collaboration impact student learning? ›

When teachers work in teams, it allows them to build meaningful relationships with their colleagues, and it gives them the sense of being a part of something bigger. This sense of belonging can positively affect school culture, which of course can directly affect student learning.

Why is collaborative teaching important? ›

Why use collaborative learning? Research shows that educational experiences that are active, social, contextual, engaging, and student-owned lead to deeper learning. The benefits of collaborative learning include: Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills.

How can you promote teacher collaboration? ›

What Are The Best Collaborative Learning Tips And Strategies For Teachers?
  1. Establish clear group goals. ...
  2. Keep groups midsized. ...
  3. Establish flexible group norms. ...
  4. Build trust and promote open communication. ...
  5. For larger tasks, create group roles. ...
  6. Create a pre-test and post-test.

How do you implement collaborative learning in the classroom? ›

Here are 10 strategies for encouraging the success of collaborative learning:
  1. Deliberately select which students will work together. ...
  2. Size the groups for maximum effectiveness. ...
  3. Teach your students how to listen to one another. ...
  4. Set the rules of language and collaboration. ...
  5. Make goals and expectations clear.

Why do teachers need to collaborate with other teachers? ›

When educators work together, they form important professional and personal relationships. Teachers often draw support from each another and can delegate tasks that allow each teacher to feel effective. Collaboration between teachers contributes to school improvement and student success.

What makes a classroom group and collaboration successful? ›

Knowledge can bring focus which leads to understanding. Establish norms around working in a group. The best teams understand that common expectations are crucial for success. Take time before the first meaningful collaborative work to create norms around communication, meetings, organization, and decision making.

Which co-teaching model is most effective? ›

Team Teaching is when two teachers are simultaneously teaching content together in the classroom. Many consider this the most effective form of co-teaching, but it is also the most time-consuming.

Is collaborative learning a teaching strategy? ›

Cooperative Learning, sometimes called small-group learning, is an instructional strategy in which small groups of students work together on a common task. The task can be as simple as solving a multi-step math problem together, or as complex as developing a design for a new kind of school.

How can collaborative learning motivate students? ›

Cooperative learning enhances student motivation by giving them more control over their learning experiences. Control, as stated earlier, is a great motivator. The focus of cooperative learning is to involve students actively in the learning process (Slavin, 1980).

What are the 6 models of co-teaching? ›

Six Co-Teaching Strategies
  • One Teach, One Assist. One teacher acts as the primary teacher while the other assists and supports. the learners. ...
  • One Teach, One Observe. • ...
  • Station Teaching. • ...
  • Parallel Teaching. • ...
  • Alternative (Differentiated) Teaching. • ...
  • Team Teaching. •

What are 5 advantages of co-teaching? ›

Five clear benefits to the multi-teacher classroom
  • Reduced teacher-to-student ratio.
  • Increased instructional options.
  • Greater student engagement time.
  • Modeled teamwork.
  • Balance and time management.
18 Feb 2021

What are the different types of team teaching? ›

There appear to be two broad categories of team teaching: Category A: Two or more instructors are teaching the same students at the same time within the same classroom; Category B: The instructors work together but do not necessarily teach the same groups of students nor necessarily teach at the same time.

What are collaborative activities? ›

What are collaborative activities? Collaborative activities are any activities where learners are working co-operatively in pairs or groups. For example: Pair or group discussions. Completing shared tasks in a pair or group, e.g. matching, sorting, ranking.

Which co-teaching model is most effective? ›

Team Teaching is when two teachers are simultaneously teaching content together in the classroom. Many consider this the most effective form of co-teaching, but it is also the most time-consuming.

What is the difference between co-teaching and team teaching? ›

In Team Teaching, two teachers share the accountability for two separate groups of students. However, in Co-teaching, two teachers share the accountability for the teaching one single group of students.

Which aspects of co-teaching is difficult? ›

Planning time and the make-up of co-taught classes (proportion of students with IEPs exceeding 33%) were identified as the two most challenging aspects of implementing co- teaching. The sharing of roles and responsibilities was the third biggest challenge.

Why is collaborative teaching important? ›

The benefits of collaborative learning include: Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills. Promotion of student-faculty interaction. Increase in student retention, self-esteem, and responsibility.

Why should teachers work together? ›

When we work together, we create a better learning experience. Teacher collaboration positively impacts student achievement, and allows us as educators to explore new territory.

What are the 3 disadvantages of co-teaching? ›

Cons: loss of one instructor, can be used too often due to a lack of planning or a lack of content knowledge or self-efficacy, can be underutilized for its intended purpose without a focused group of students to assist based on the lesson design.

What are the three types of team teaching? ›

Types of team teaching:
  • Teaching within a single discipline. In this type of teaching the teachers co-operate with each other in the same subject. ...
  • A team of expert teachers to the same course. Different teachers who are expert in their own course. ...
  • Combined team with related innovation.

Is team teaching a teaching strategy? ›

Team teaching is also known as collaborative teaching or co-teaching and is an instructional strategy where teachers work together regularly. There are a number of different approaches to team teaching.

What are the principles of team teaching? ›

Principles in Team Teaching
  • The size and composition of the group must be appropriate to its purpose.
  • The time allotted to any group must be appropriate to its purpose.
  • The learning environment must be appropriate to the activities of the group.

What makes collaborative learning successful? ›

Effective collaborative learning involves the establishment of group goals, as well as individual accountability. This keeps the group on task and establishes an unambiguous purpose. Before beginning an assignment, it is best to define goals and objectives to save time.

How do you implement collaboration in the classroom? ›

10 Strategies to Build on Student Collaboration in the Classroom
  1. Deliberately select which students will work together. ...
  2. Size the groups for maximum effectiveness. ...
  3. Teach your students how to listen to one another. ...
  4. Set the rules of language and collaboration. ...
  5. Make goals and expectations clear.

What is collaborative learning in the classroom? ›

“Collaborative learning” is an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches involving joint intellectual effort by students, or students and teachers together. Usually, students are working in groups of two or more, mutually searching for understanding, solutions, or meanings, or creating a product.


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